— Where do you come from?
— Which locality?
— Not exactly Gorakhpur. Deoria.
— Oh! In Deoria proper?
— No, not proper. Salempur, you know that?
— First you said Gorakhpur. Then Deoria. Now Salempur. Where exactly do you come from?
— Actually my home is near Salempur, in the district Deoria. I thought you might not have heard about it. So I told Gorakhpur as a better reference point. It is a big city.
— Had I not known, I would have asked, isn’t it?
— Yes, true, I am sorry.
— People know your place through you. If you yourself deny recognition to your native place, how would others recognise it? You could have gone the other way — first mentioned Salempur, then Deoria, and then Gorakhpur, in case the person did not know the places. I suggest you follow this approach. Even if you fail to help someone in identifying the location, do not worry. In the subsequent conversations, which that person would have with other people, if the name Salempur or Deoria turns up, this person would immediately recollect — ‘Aha! Yes, Amit mentioned this very name!’ Take care that you mention the correct name in future.
This conversation with one of my seniors carried a lot of sense. If you feel that your place is underdeveloped, feel annoyed at the apathy from government in addressing the problems of your region, lack of limelight and media concern to your issues, and are pained at the lack of facilities and basic amenities, then why not take some steps — however small — in helping solve these problems? I am proposing to start the process by first bringing your place on the map, letting people know that there is a place by that name, where similar people live, who feel same joys and sorrows, and have same requirements, and who really need attention — immediate attention. And all that happens when you tell the exact name of your place and not a reference location. You may provide details if asked, else let the name reside in others’ subconscious so that every mention of it brings it forward in the attention and view of the global viewers.
It would be childish to assume that this would solve all your problems. Still, at first you need to assert your existence, isn’t it? Teachers are identified by their students, parents feel pride in the achievements of their children. And so would a place earn its name with the generations it has produced.